CONSOLIDATING WESTERN

Oparanya rallies support for Raila, shelves presidential bid

Kakamega governor had declared he wanted to run for president and sought Raila's support. Now eyes national seat.

In Summary

• Governor met 63 Kakamega MCAs on Friday to rally their support for Raila ahead of the 2022 General Election. 

• Oparanya, the deputy ODM party leader, had declared he wanted to run for president and asked for Raila's support. Now he's eyeing a seat in government.

 

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya during a meeting with 63 MCAs from ODM and affiliated parties, and county executives, on Friday.
BACKING RAILA: Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya during a meeting with 63 MCAs from ODM and affiliated parties, and county executives, on Friday.
Image: MAURICE ALAL

Kakamega Governor Wycliffe Oparanya on Friday appeared to have shelved his bid for the presidency and backed ODM leader Raila Odinga.

Oparanya, an ODM deputy party leader, began rallying Western votes behind Raila.

He met 63 Kakamega MCAs on Friday, urging them to back Raila in the 2022 General Elections.

 

He said the meeting was meant to discuss how they will work for the next two years and position themselves as a county for 2022.

County CEC members were present, including Deputy Governor Philip Kutima, who is the county ODM chairman. 

“This was actually sort of a political meeting. We shall involve others after proper consultation is put in place,” Oparanya said.

Kakamega has 89 MCA, of which 63 are members of ODM and affiliated parties that support ODM in the county assembly.

The meeting comes barely a week after Raila met the MCAs at Oparanya's rural home in Butere, Kakamega.

A source who sought anonymity said Oparanya also sought support as he looks forward to role in national politics. He is seen as a Western kingpin. 

Raila recently endorsed Oparanya for a national seat and asked him to focus on national politics.

 

“I am done with county politics and I want your support when at the national level. I need to have those I can work with to push for [Kakamega to get a share of]  the national cake,” Oparanya was quoted as telling the meeting.

Deputy speaker Leonard Soita said they discussed the political development [suupport for Raila], support for ODM's principles and strategies to make the party more vibrant come 2022.

They are willing to work with like-minded leaders, he said.

“We had a very good meeting, discussing how and what they want to do as a party in the best interests of the people of Kakamega," Soita said. They expressed determination to remain united, he said.

“Such meeting is very normal as people are coming together to spur economic development in their counties,” Soita said.

The county wants a strong force from the county to represent them at the national level, he said. That looks like Oparanya.

The governor, as the region's spokesman, has been able to negotiate development projects that are set to be initiated, Soita said, addingt most are already in the national budget.

"Very soon we are going to see the fruits of the governor's relationship with other other national leaders," he said.

Kakamega is an ODM stronghold, not a county where anybody would want to hoodwink residents, the deputy speaker said.

“The majority party here is ODM but in the future, as we advance, we are going to forge relationship with other [like-minded] people to see which directionto take,” Soita said.

(Edited by V. Graham)